In a country like Singapore, where real estate is pretty expensive, there is a class of property reserved only for the elite of the elite, i.e., Good Class Bungalows or GCB. These have long been a status symbol in Singapore and are a rare breed, with only about 2,700-2,800 of them. In total, there are only 39 designated GCB enclaves in Singapore. Due to their rarity, there is a certain level of mystique surrounding such properties. People believe the value of such properties does not fall, and every single of them is a gold mine. But what exactly are Good Class Bungalows – what makes them so coveted and unique? How much do they cost exactly and is it worthwhile purchase in land scarce in Singapore?
What Do You Mean by Good Class Bungalows or GCBs?
Good Class Bungalows, or GCBs as they are commonly known, are among the most exclusive and prestigious housing in Singapore.
GCBs are some super large and elite homes for the wealthy, and they are differentiated by two factors – the location and its size. Some of these bungalows have been around for decades, and it adds to their architectural charm. However, GCBs can also be newly built depending on the owners’ fancy. Recently, GCBs have been designed with an array of facilities. These include condominium-like amenities such as wine cellars, entertainment rooms, swimming pools, luxury car garages, and even tennis courts and bowling alleys.
In Which Areas are Good Class Bungalows Allowed to be Built in Singapore?
You cannot just buy a big plot of land in Singapore, build a big house on it and call it a Good Class Bungalow. There are certain criteria they need to meet for them to be called as Good Class Bungalows. To preserve the exclusivity of these GCBs, these can only be located in one of the 39 gazette areas around Singapore. They are the prime and the most popular locations in Singapore.
What are Some of the Planning Restrictions for Good Class Bungalows?
A bungalow falling under Good Class Bungalows is subject to certain planning constraints to preserve such neighborhoods’ low-rise character and exclusivity. The minimum land plot size should be around 1,400 sq m and can only be two stories. The owners also cannot utilize more than 40% of the total plot size for their homes. They need to have enough greenery in between the plots. More information can be read from URA’s website (https://www.ura.gov.sg/Corporate/Guidelines/Development-Control/Residential/Bungalows/Locational-Criteria)
Who Can Buy Good Class Bungalows in Singapore?
There are strict rules about who can purchase Good Class Bungalows. Only Singapore citizens or Singapore entities can purchase GCB. Those permitted also include companies where the shareholders and directors are Singapore citizens, or trustees and beneficiaries are citizens of Singapore. However, a foreign entity is only allowed to rent GBCs but cannot own one.
Nevertheless, there are certain exceptions to the rule. Foreigners can get special approval by the SLA, but the decision will be based on two factors –
- The foreigner should have held a Singapore PR for a minimum of 5 years
- The foreigner should have made a significant contribution to Singapore’s economy.
How Much Do These Good Class Bungalows Cost?
Due to the strong status and scarcity of GCBs, they cost much more than an average bungalow in Singapore. If you are considering purchasing a Good Class Bungalow in Singapore, you need to be ready to pay a hefty price of anything around S$27 million to around S$50 million. But sometimes, even that won’t be enough as the most high-profile GCBs can go as high as S$230 million in the property market.
Even during the recession and with the COVID-19 pandemic, the sale of momentum of GCBs has continued. Given the scarcity of new build GCBs in prestigious locations, GCB buyers should look for older properties for redevelopment. TikTok CEO Chew ShouZi is in the early stage of purchasing an existing GCB on Queen Astrid Park for S$89 million and redevelop it. Two more bungalows on Cluny Road are also expected to be sold at around S$91 million.
In Singapore, real estate investment is highly sought after, and investing in something with a tag of prestige is surely a viable option for wealth preservation in the future.